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Bach Cantatas - Some Thoughts


Murton
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What time of year will you be doing the concert? It could be nice to coordinate the cantata with the liturgical season, e.g. Wachet auf in advent.

 

I like and know various movements of some cantatas, but never really used them. I am going to spend a lot of my Christmas hols listening etc as there is so much that is great to listen to; however, my thoughts about opening it up to the forum for ideas were that with the collective wisdom of everyone here, I may get some great ideas.

The concert will be in March, and coupling it with the Bach double violin concerto means that I ought to do a Bach piece...unless someone has a great idea. The usual, Pergolesi Stabat Mater or Magnificat don't stir me (done them before etc)...

Hope this can provide a suitable diversion to us all...Carols are coming out of my ears at the moment. :rolleyes:

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Have a look at this website.

I've posted this link before on the forum on a previous topic about Bach's Cantatas.

The site contains the scores for the bulk of the Cantatas in pdf form which you can print and play as you wish, I've used it a few times myself to make organ arrangements of some favourite arias.

An excellent resource.

 

DT

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Have a look at this website.

I've posted this link before on the forum on a previous topic about Bach's Cantatas.

The site contains the scores for the bulk of the Cantatas in pdf form which you can print and play as you wish, I've used it a few times myself to make organ arrangements of some favourite arias.

An excellent resource.

 

DT

Of course...the most obvious thing would have been to search this site first...still it is the silly season.

Thanks for this site link too...

I knew I would get some helpful thoughts from the forum.

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Murton,

 

If it's a short item you're after, I would suggest 'Nun danket alle Gott' BWV 192 as an excellent introduction to the world of Bach Cantatas.

At about 11 minutes it's shorter than most being only 3 movements as opposed to the 6 or 7 of the average Cantata.

Each movement is clearly based on the well-known tune with no recitatives:

1. The usual Choral Fantasia with the cantus firmus in the soprano part and plenty going on in ATB and accomp.

2. Aria for Soprano & Bass, quite straightforward.

3. Another Choral Fantasia, this time one of those wonderful Bach driving 6/8 romps with an accomp which lodges in the brain and is hard to shift!

You'll find the score on the web-site I suggested.

If you want a recording look here. (there's an audio file of the last movement attached to the ad.)

 

Regards,

David

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It has been well said that if you listen to the crispness, clarift, rhythmic control, articulation &c., of the Eliott Gardiner/Monteverdi Choir CDs you can get a very good idea of how your Bach orgn palying outght to sound.

 

A few years ago, an outfit from the States called the Bethlehem Bach Choir did a Prom, preceded by much hype. I left part way through the first half because I thought they were dreadful - stodgy, dull, much too well upholstered. The frustrating thing was that if they wanted to know how to do it properly all that they needed to do was listen to the orchestra that they'd brought with them.

 

Anyone else hear that concert and agree/disagree with me?

 

Ian

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If you want a recording look here. (there's an audio file of the last movement attached to the ad.)

<sigh>

 

Here we go again. Wonderful piece, but this is too fast for me with lots of snatched notes in the obbligato. Of course it shouldn't be stodgy, but was Bach really such a flippant person as this? But it's the current fashion and no doubt I'm the only soldier in step.

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<sigh>

 

Here we go again. Wonderful piece, but this is too fast for me with lots of snatched notes in the obbligato. Of course it shouldn't be stodgy, but was Bach really such a flippant person as this? But it's the current fashion and no doubt I'm the only soldier in step.

Yes, too fast - especially shows in the more complex chorus parts, I think. It's such a wonderful performance, though, it very nearly convinces me.

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Yes, it's certainly very crisp, neat and energetic. It does have lots of positive points. The only real problem I have with it is the speed. We know that, above all else, Bach was a very devout person. Yet in so Bach many performances today I listen for this quality in vain.

 

The problem is by no means confined to Bach either; it is apt to raise its head whenever church music is perfomed by secular musicians. There is usually a failure to engage with the spirit which generated these pieces. I have been listening recently to a wide variety of recordings of Tallis's music by various choirs and vocal ensembles. They are nearly all very professionally executed - and usually "executed" is exactly le mot juste. The only choirs who communicate a sense of the devotion in these works are those who participate in a regular liturgy.

 

It's all very well having good editions, the right pitch, original instruments, period fingering, etc., etc., but historical performance practice is nothing if it does not start by addressing the spirit of the music.

 

Sorry, have rambled off topic.

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